More than 500 students, accompanied by their guardians and teachers, took part in the essay writing, drawing and painting competitions held at Aranya Bhavan, the headquarters of the Karnataka Forest Department, which organised the event.
The idea behind hosting the Wildlife Week is to make people aware of the importance of wildlife — the flora and the fauna found in Karnataka's numerous forests. The theme for this year is 'Big Cats—Predators Under Threat'.
Usually held from October 1 to 8, the Wildlife Week was advanced this year in view of the holidays and examinations scheduled for September-end and early October, a forest department official said.
Many participants at the inaugural event were amazed to learn the importance of predators in the forest ecosystem and the food chain. They were also made aware of the four prime predators in India: lion, tiger, leopard and snow leopard in the Himalayas.
Students and adults indulged in panel discussions, debates and interactive sessions throughout the day. "More than children, it was parents and teachers who showed immense interest. They learnt as much as they could from forest officials, wildlife activists and researchers. In the coming days, many educational sessions will be held for children in rural areas and those residing around forest patches," the official said.
The department will organise a wildlife week walk in October. The valedictory function will be held on October 9.